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Best DIY Home Security Systems (2021)

If you don’t want to be held down by long contracts, you may benefit from a DIY home security system. In this article we discuss the best DIY home security systems to help you choose a system for your home.

Home security camera

DIY home security systems are a great option for those who don’t want to hardwire a system into their home. It allows for easy removal without any damage. DIY systems are also great for tech-savvy individuals who want the freedom and flexibility to custom-build a monitoring system.

With so many DIY home security systems available, it can be challenging to determine which one is right for your home. Keep reading for the best DIY home security systems and tips for selecting the best home security system for your home.

Top 6 DIY Home Security Systems of 2021

The highest rated DIY home security systems include the following:

  1. SimpliSafe: Best for Easy Installation
  2. Abode: Best for Customization
  3. Alder: Best for Medical Alerts
  4. Ooma: Best for Self-Monitoring
  5. Blue by ADT: Best for No Contract
  6. Cove Security: Best for DIY Value

1. SimpliSafe: Best for Easy Installation

SimpliSafe offers a variety of DIY home security packages and gives users the option to customize their own system. Monitored 24/7 by professionals, SimpliSafe offers a 60-day risk-free trial and no contract.

Customers can choose between a build-your-own plan or five prepared packages. Package costs range between $183 and $391 for installation, plus the cost of interactive monitoring. Additionally, customers can purchase add-ons, such as a smart lock for $99 or Video Doorbell Pro for $169.

Here’s an overview of SimpliSafe packages below:

Customers can choose between a build-your-own plan or five prepared packages. Package costs range between $183–$391 for installation, plus the cost of interactive monitoring. Additionally, customers can purchase add-ons, such as a smart lock for $99 or Video Doorbell Pro for $169.

Here’s an overview of SimpliSafe packages below:

SimpliSafe Package Comparison

Feature "The Foundation" Package "The Essentials" Package "The Hearth" Package "The Knox" Package "The Haven" Package
Feature "The Foundation" Package "The Essentials" Package "The Hearth" Package "The Knox" Package "The Haven" Package
Best For Small homes and apartments People who want basic motion sensors Smoke detection Large homes with four or more bedrooms Comprehensive home protection
Starting Price $183 $207 $299 $359 $391
Professional Installation Fee $79 $79 $79 $79 $79
Base Station
Keypad
Entry Sensor ✔ 1 included ✔ 3 included ✔ 3 included ✔ 6 included ✔ 4 included
Motion Sensor ✔ 1 included ✔ 1 included ✔ 1 included ✔ 2 included ✔ 2 included
Key Fob
Siren
Smoke Detector
Temperature Sensor
Water Sensor
Panic Button

Some of these packages, like The Haven, include interactive monitoring with video verification, police dispatch, and 24/7 alerts.

SimpliSafe home security systems also offer the following benefits:

  • 24/7 professional monitoring against intruders, fire, water damage, and carbon monoxide
  • Live professional alerts
  • No contract and a 60-day, 100 percent satisfaction guarantee
  • Easy DIY setup or the option to hire a certified professional to install the system
  • Visual verification option allowing you to monitor and watch your home at any time
  • Power cellular backup that allows a cellular connection to work if your Wi-Fi goes out
  • Built-in battery backup in case of a power outage
  • Mobile app that is easy to use and allows you to control your system from anywhere and provides alerts when activity is detected

We recommend SimpliSafe’s The Essentials Package. This is an excellent system for anyone looking to have a motion detection security system or for anyone who is just getting started with home security. Due to SimpliSafe not requiring any drilling and its simple design, we found it best for easy installation.

SimpliSafe is currently offering 30 percent off any new system and its SimpliCam security camera, which is a $99 value.* We encourage you to take advantage of this offer and learn more about SimpliSafe’s specific package details and pricing here.

*Offer available as of March 15, 2021

2. Abode Home Security: Best for Customization

Abode is an entry-level security system that we believe is the best for customization. The system is easy to install and integrates with existing Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, and Nest for voice-enabled arming and disarming. Abode systems also integrate smart-home devices and platforms, such as HomeKit, Z-Wave, Wave Zigbee, Hue, and Google Assistant.

Abode offers mobile and web access with no monthly fees. This allows customers to virtually monitor and control smart devices in their homes. Additionally, Abode offers optional professional monitoring and cellular backup. It has a no-contract system with the option to cancel at any time without any hidden fees.

Check out Abode’s DIY package offerings here:

Abode Package Comparison

Feature "Smart Security Middle" Package "Iota Kit Middle" Package "Smart Security Kit Elite" Package "Iota Kit Elite" Package
Feature "Smart Security Middle" Package "Iota Kit Middle" Package "Smart Security Kit Elite" Package "Iota Kit Elite" Package
Equipment Cost $342 $379 $389 $445
Keypad
Key Fob
Sticker - -
Motion Sensor ✔ 1 included - ✔ 2 included ✔ 1 included
Door/Window Sensors ✔ 3 included ✔ 3 included ✔ 4 included ✔ 4 included
Smart Device Integration
Built-in Motion Detector - -
Wifi-Enabled - -
Type of Gateway Gen 2 iota Gen 2 iota

Abode offers two wireless home security systems and allows customers to build their own security packages. Iota All-In-One and Smart Security Kits connect wirelessly to devices like door sensors, motion detectors, cameras, and more. Both systems come with a 93-decibel siren and you can purchase professional installation if needed.

  • The Iota All-In-One Security Kit package includes one mini-door/window sensor and one key fob. The package price starts at $329. The standard, self-monitoring plan costs 20 cents/day. The professional monitoring plan with cellular backup costs 66 cents/day.
  • The Smart Security Kit package includes one motion sensor, one mini door/window sensor, and one key fob. The price of this package starts at $229. Monitoring costs are the same as the Iota security package.

You can purchase additional products through Abode, including cameras, sensors, smoke and water detectors, and other smart-home devices. Abode helps you with the foundation of your system, to which you can add any additional equipment you find important. That is why we named Abode Home Security is Best for Customization.

We suggest customers start with Abode’s Smart Security Kit. This is a great starter package for anyone who wants to start a simple, easy-to-use security system. Abode’s affordable self-monitoring plan also gives you access to Abode’s user-friendly mobile app to control your system.

Interested in Abode home security? You can receive 15 percent off a Starter Kit using code LUCKY21 at checkout.* We suggest you learn more about Abode’s specific package details and pricing here.

*Offer available as of March 15, 2021.

3. Alder Home Security: Best for Medical Alerts

Alder is known for its professional monitoring with 24/7 monitoring centers. It watches for intrusions, fire, carbon monoxide leaks, floods, and even medical emergencies. It offers both professional and DIY installation with its home security systems, but offers only professional monitoring. Alder Professional monitoring starts at $35 a month.

Alder builds its security system on wireless equipment and doesn’t have many options for smart-home integration. Amazon Alexa, Echo, and Z-wave technology are currently the only smart-home devices that Alder technology can integrate with.

If you choose Alder DIY installation, you’ll receive a pre-programmed system with installation instructions that is ready to activate as soon as you receive it. You simply have to position your devices and call to have them activated.

It’s important to note that the sensors need to be screwed into the wall. If you don’t feel comfortable with installation, you can hire an Alder technician to help you for an additional fee.

Some equipment you can expect from Alder includes:

  • Motion sensors
  • Door/window sensors
  • Glass break sensors
  • Smoke/heat detectors
  • Flood/freeze sensors
  • Carbon monoxide detectors

The system is primarily focused on sensor use for detection. The company does offer security cameras such as the YI Kami for outdoor use, as well as the YI Indoor Camera. You can also integrate third-party security cameras into the system. We also found Alder’s emphasis on medical emergencies on its website a great feature for those concerned about medical alerts.

Interested in Alder home security? View specific package details and pricing here or call 844-431-0264.

4. Ooma Home Security: Best for Self-Monitoring

This simple DIY home security system monitors your home and allows access to emergency services through its app. Ooma doesn’t support home automation, doesn’t provide security cameras, and doesn’t integrate with third-party devices. However, Ooma does have an option to add on professional monitoring for a fee. Professional monitoring is not available in every state.

An Ooma Home Security kit starts at $180 and professional monitoring can be added on for $14.99 per month.

Here’s what’s included in an Ooma security package:

  • Telo VoIP hub
  • Motion sensor
  • Door/window sensor
  • Water sensor
  • Smart security app

Ooma is a great choice for anyone looking for a bare-bones security system with excellent mobile app integration with features like custom modes for day and night cycles. You also receive remote 911 calling capability, which means you can dial a local 911 operator from anywhere in the world. Another great feature is its negative alerts option. This means you can tell if something doesn’t happen based on your sensors, such as your child not making it home at a certain time.

We recommend looking into Ooma’s product-only Secure Plan, as it is one of the cheapest options for self-monitoring on the market. The Secure Plan costs just $5.99 per month.

5. Blue by ADT: Best for No Contract

Blue by ADT offers basic DIY home security systems. After installing the system on your own, you can choose to either self-monitor or use ADT’s 24/7 professional monitoring services for $19.99 per month. You’ll avoid any long-term contracts with Blue by ADT, in contrast to ADT’s main service. Best of all, Blue by ADT helps customize your system to fit your specific security needs.

Customers can choose between three package options with Blue by ADT. Its Build-Your-Own-System package starts at $179.99 and includes a hub and integrated keypad, as well as access to the mobile app. The more advanced Starter System costs $219.99 and the top-of-the-line Starter Plus System costs $299.99. These packages include:

  • Hub & integrated keypad
  • Door & window sensors
  • Motion sensors
  • Access to the mobile app
  • A yard sign
  • Window stickers

You are able to purchase additional equipment for each of these packages for an extra cost. Equipment can include surveillance cameras, such as outdoor security cameras, indoor cameras, and a video doorbell.

Cloud storage starts at $2.99 per month for 60-day storage or $12.99 for an unlimited number of cameras at one location.

We recommend you look into Blue by ADT’s Build-Your-Own-System package, to customize your system to fit your home’s security needs with no contract required.

6. Cove Security

Cove Security is our choice for best DIY value because it offers custom security packages and doesn’t offer preset home security plans. Cove also provides locked monitoring rates, a lifetime warranty, and a $5 credit each month that can be used for future equipment purchases.

Because there are no preexisting packages, equipment costs vary, and Cove monitoring ranges between $15 and $25 per month. Each Cove customer receives access to self-monitoring and professional monitoring plans, as well as access to Cove InstaText. This is a mobile app that uses a three-step communication process to fight against false alarms but maintain fast response times.

Cove’s equipment offerings include:

  • The Cove Touch Alarm Panel
  • Door sensors
  • Motion sensors
  • A key remote
  • Window sensor
  • Glass break detectors
  • Smoke/carbon monoxide detectors
  • Flood sensors
  • Medial buttons
  • YI Indoor Camera

Cove currently offers 45 percent off all equipment plus a free indoor camera.* To take advantage of this deal, contact the company to build your equipment package.

*Offer available as of March 15, 2021

Our Conclusion

DIY home security systems are great for many reasons. It’s an ideal solution for anyone who knows they’ll be moving soon. Additionally, it’s an ideal solution for those who want to customize their own system. Lastly, it gives you the freedom of not being held down by a contract.

Learn more about the top security systems we reviewed to start protecting your home today.

Top DIY Home Security Companies

Specifications SimpliSafe Abode Alder
Specifications SimpliSafe Abode Alder
View packages View packages View packages View packages
Set-up time Less than one hour Less than one hour One hour
Tools required None—most elements are peel-and-stick None—most elements are peel-and-stick Screwdriver—sensors use screws for installation
Installation support Yes Yes Yes
Work guarantee Yes Yes Yes
Contract length None None 3–5 years

More on Home Security Systems

DIY Home Security Factors to Consider

There are many perks and draws to installing your own DIY home monitoring system. Additionally, there are a handful of specific factors that you need to consider before making the leap. Many systems have a money-back guarantee which may ease some fears before installing yourself.

Before buying a DIY home security system, consider the following factors:

  • Price: The cost of a DIY security system will depend on the equipment and system you purchase. There’s typically a reduced monitoring fee without a contract, cutting out cancellation fees. Additionally, you won’t have to pay an installation fee.
  • Installation: Because you’ll have to install a DIY home security system yourself, it’s important to feel secure in the installation. Most home security providers have peel-and-stick equipment that’s easy to wirelessly configure. Some companies can set you up with an external professional installer for a fee.
  • Equipment: Many DIY starter kits come with basic equipment such as a control panel, motion sensors, door and window sensors, and signage. Some additional equipment may include window break detectors, smoke and water detectors, security cameras, and optional smart home devices.
  • Monitoring Type: When selecting a DIY system, you can choose if you want to self-monitor or pay for professional monitoring. Professional monitoring typically comes with a monthly fee, while self-monitoring is usually free, minus any app costs.
  • Smart Home Integration: If you already have smart home accessories, a DIY system may be a good fit with your existing set-up. If not, it may be a good opportunity to automate some tasks in your home.

Pros and Cons of DIY Home Security Systems

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
✔ No installation fees ✘ Typically require expensive monthly subscriptions
✔ Ideal for renters ✘ Higher chance for a system to be installed incorrectly
✔ Most DIY systems don’t require contracts or charge termination fees ✘ Users are responsible for maintaining the system and upgrading when necessary
✔ Pairs easily with smart home devices
✔ Most companies offer 30–90-day trials with a money-back guarantee

DIY home security systems have a variety of advantages and disadvantages. With DIY home security, individuals can self-monitor their system or opt for professional monitoring for a low monthly fee if their provider allows. DIY systems also provide users with the flexibility to link up with existing smart home devices to further automate your home.

DIY Home Security Vs. Professional Home Security

There are some notable differences between DIY Home Security and Professional Home Security that you may want to consider before deciding which approach is right for you. The main differences between these two approaches are:

Installation

With professional installation, a technician certified by the security provider comes to your home to install the system for you. This can ease any concerns about proper installation, manual labor and making sure each component is set up in the best possible location. However, professional installation usually comes at an additional cost and may even require an activation fee.

DIY installation means that you install the home security system yourself. Often, a company will pre-program the system so that you simply need to put the equipment into place and call to activate it. DIY installations tend to be easy to execute, and they are an effective measure to help you avoid any additional fees for installation and activation.

Monitoring

Most home security DIYers opt for self-monitoring. With self-monitoring, you typically get access to a security company’s mobile app and are responsible for paying attention to and reporting any alerts from the security system. If your system is triggered by an emergency, you will be responsible for notifying police, fire or other proper authorities. Self-monitoring tends to be significantly cheaper than professional monitoring options.

Companies that offer professional monitoring usually have monitoring centers to provide around-the-clock assistance for alarms. An operator at the monitoring center will first attempt to contact you to confirm whether or not an emergency is occuring. If you are unavailable or in distress, the monitoring center will dispatch emergency services to your home.

One benefit of professional monitoring is that it allows you to focus on other important matters during an emergency, like your family’s safety. Companies often reserve additional features—such as increased cloud storage and live-video feeds—for professional monitoring plans. However, professional monitoring tends to be significantly more expensive than self-monitoring.

How to Install a DIY Home Security System

Once you’ve purchased your DIY system, here are some general tips and steps for setup and installation:

  1. Select a place to set up your control panel or keypad if one comes with your security system. Select a location near a door that’s easy to access when arming and disarming the system. Some panels can be secured with an adhesive, while others need to be nailed or screwed into place.
  2. Install motion detectors and door/window sensors throughout your home. Most of these will be adhered to the wall without screws or nails. Install any glass break sensors, as well as any disaster monitors like smoke or water detectors.
  3. If you’re using security cameras, select a location that provides the best view of your home.
  4. Sync smart home devices with your new security system to improve convenience and home automation.
  5. Post any signage included with your kit by doors and windows leading into your home.

How DIY Home Security Systems Work

Most DIY home security systems come with a control panel that connects to sensors and your mobile device. The control panel will activate the detectors when you aren’t home.

You can choose self-monitoring or pay for professional monitoring. A self-monitoring system sends text and email notifications when detectors go off. If you choose professional monitoring, someone will notify you and the authorities if a detector or sensor goes off.

Cost of DIY Home Security Systems

DIY home security systems are typically less expensive than traditional security systems. You don’t have to factor in the cost of professional installation which saves you money. Additionally, if you choose to self-monitor, you avoid monthly monitoring fees.

If you choose self-monitoring, DIY systems can range between $10–$50 per month. Depending on your system, the upfront cost can range between $100–$1000.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a DIY home security system?

A DIY security system is one that you can customize and install on your own. One of the perks of a DIY system is that you won’t have to pay an installation fee. However, some companies may offer professional installation for a fee if you’re uncomfortable setting the system up yourself.

How do DIY home security systems join devices?

DIY home security systems can join devices via a mobile app or control panel.

How much internet data do DIY home security systems use?

A wireless camera that’s always recording video can use over 60Gb a month. IP cameras with a low frame rate can use approximately 1Gb a month.

What’s the difference between a DIY system and professionally installed home security system?

A DIY system is built and installed yourself. A professionally installed system is installed by professionals hired by the security company. A DIY system can be customized, while traditional security companies typically have preset equipment packages.

Is a DIY security system right for me?

Whether a DIY security system is right for you is a matter of personal preference. If you are comfortable following installation instructions and have a few spare hours to install it yourself, a DIY system can protect your home and save you money on professional installation.

Can I take my DIY home security system with me when I move?

Yes, installation for DIY home security systems is usually simple, so your system can move with you. If you are on a professional monitoring contract, it may be wise to notify your home security provider about your move.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.